In The Shadow Of His Nemesis
By AL BRUNO III
Saturday, December 4th 1996
“Damn,” Roxanne glared at the card, “damn. Damn.”
Sitting cross legged and alone on her wide bed brushed a handful of tarot cards to the floor in a disgusted gesture. She had been laying down tarot card spreads for hours, she'd used every configuration she knew and every deck she owned but the results were always the same. Change was coming, the worst kind of change, possibly the fatal kind of change. The Hanged Man and the Ten of Swords were always in the mix, as were the Moon and the Lovers. Roxanne shivered wishing first for Jack to hold her close, and then a heartbeat later for her brother. She got up and lit a few more candles, she had always found candlelight sexy but tonight it reminded her of church weddings and funerals-both depressing events when you got right down to it. Still though she preferred the flickering auras of light to the darkness, tonight she would have preferred electric lamps or a floodlight.
I warned you Jack, she thought to herself, I warned you this would be the end of us.
She had urged him to kill Zeth from the moment he arrived but he had been too intrigued by the man to even entertain the idea. Then along came Galen and his two little pets. Jack had been more than willing make their tawdry little romance a part of their lives and once Hao took Isobel's nebbish of a brother into her bed he had gotten drunk in celebration. He'd gone on and on about how this was the House That Love Built. Of course Roxanne knew better, she'd been to the Crucible and looked into the very heart of Dameia's all-consuming desire. There was something sad and desperate about the way Jack lied to himself, she could forgive him that but she couldn't forgive how vulnerable he had made them.
Sighing to herself Roxanne turned her attention back to the cards. She considered stripping out all the face cards from one her decks and just laying out a spread of wands, cups, swords and staves but she didn't for fear that the ink on the cards would run and twist itself into the inevitable patterns destiny and bad judgment had in store for her.
There was a knock on her door. That meant it wasn't Jack. Jack had a key. She wondered if it was Sig with some sad, groveling request or Bodivar with a bottle of Absinthe. Both could be pretty intoxicating but the consequences were never worth it.
Roxanne opened the door to find Jason Magwier standing there, his hair and clothes were soggy with melting snow. “My dear,” he sniffled cheerfully, bouncing on the balls of his feet with his hands clasped behind his back, “I really think we should talk. One teller of fortunes to another.”
Rumor was the man standing before her was UN-killable, that he had leashed his soul to the very engines of creation in a bid to cheat eternity but then again there were lots of rumors about Jason Magwier, most Roxanne assumed he had started himself. She glared at him, “There's nothing here for you.”
“Don't be so sure,” he grinned. He pulled the broken table leg from behind his back and swung it in a short, sharp arc catching Roxanne on the side of her face, drawing blood. She staggered in place, her expression dazed.
Magwier pushed her backwards sending her staggering back to fall to her knees. He walked into her room and closed the door behind him.